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Learning Curve

Learning from your mistakes is one of the things that we all really need to focus on doing more of. I came very close to FUBAR-ing my first agent queries. You would think I would learn, and in this case, I might have.

I said last week that if things went well, I would be sending out queries when the post went live. Things were going well until I did a quick web search about how to write a good synopsis.

The one that I wrote was horrible. It needs a lot of work. I almost started sending this out without having done that research. I would have ruined my chances with my top choice agents and I wouldn’t have known why.

I have made this sort of mistake before, many times in fact. At least this time, I did learn something. The queries are being worked on, the synopsis is being whipped into shape and I haven’t sent anyone anything yet.

Whew.

L. E. White

Making a Connection

Nadine knelt on the floor, dragging a piece of chalk back and forth as she drew a thick, white line on the ground. She hummed an old lull-a-bye, repeating the tune over and over as he worked.

There was a metal rod in the center of the floor with a string leading from it to the chalk. Whenever she felt the line was full enough, Nadine would slip to the side, and resume her work an arm’s length further around the room.

The sounds coming from the cages beside the door were soft. The animals would click as they drank water from the bottles hung on their doors, but otherwise, they were quiet. They rested on their blankets, chins resting on front paws, watching the woman work.

Nadine used a compass to find the proper starting point for the symbols. She drew strange, squiggling lines in little groups around the circle. Each one marked one of the twelve places from North to North again. Then, she drew another circle around the whole.

She sat small towers with extension cords coming out of the bottom in eight positions around the outer most circle. Once they were plugged in, Nadine walked around the room. She checked and re-checked that everything was in its proper place.

She pressed a few of the buttons on her phone before flipping it over in her hand and lifting it up. “Trial run number 23, Brotherhood scenario,” she said.

“To increase the power available for the reaction, I have added in a modified Jacob’s ladder. This allows for eight points of activation around the circle. By placing the central focus in the circle with extended strike surfaces facing the powered poles, I believe I can add energy to the reaction without breaking the boundary of the circle.”

She stepped to the cages and brought out two animals. The tiny monkey went inside the circle to the north while a parrot went in the south. Each of the animals were asleep, drugs making sure that they would not disturb the process by moving.

Nadine took her place inside another small circle outside the ring of lightning rods and knelt back down. She placed her hands on two crystals, pieces of each lay scattered around the animals. She took a deep breath and focused her mind on the idea of bonding the animals into a single creature. After a minute of deep breathing, she pressed a button on the remote in her pocket.

The lights in the room dimmed as the power diverted to the circle. Electricity cracked through the air and a miniature lightning storm began to fire from rod to rod.

With her eyes closed so that the sight would not distract her, Nadine envisioned both animals. She imagined them shifting into a collection of slow moving globes of light. The motes of energy began to swirl around inside the circle. The center of the swirl moved to a point at the top of a triangle connecting the two bodies. It hovered there and the little balls of light began to funnel down. As the lights bumped into each other, they joined; leaving a single, larger globe to continue towards the axis. When there was only a single light left, it hovered a few inches above the floor, spinning like a top.

Nadine envisioned her hands shaping that last ball of energy, molding it into the shape of a mouse with wings.

She smiled and relaxed when she thought the image in her head was perfect. She started to put her hand in her pocket to turn off the array, but a loud popping noise startled her. Nadine’s eyes snapped open, and she stared at the black spots on the floor.

Scorch marks covered the spots where each animal had lain. Black smears on the concrete floor were all that remained of her test subjects, but she did not look at those marks long.

What held her attention was the third mark. That one was distinct, with crisp edges like someone had spray painted the shape onto the floor with a stencil. Nadine leaned over, her nose inches away from it, and began to cry.

It looked like a monkey with wings.

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